Terrible, bad, so-so, ho-hum, okay, fine, good, pretty good, great, excellent.
If you have someone in your home that you return to at the end of each working day, you might be familiar with the question, “So, how was your day?” Whether it’s your mom, dad, wife, husband, partner, landlord – well, you get the idea; someone enquires how you feel about the day you’ve just experienced.
While we have our good days and our bad days, how would you say you generally reply to the question? There’s “Ah, don’t ask; I don’t want to talk about it” all the way through to, “Fantastic! It was a great day!” Feel free to score yourself wherever you want on the spectrum with whatever phrase you use more often than not.
The ironic thing about this question and answer time is that for some people it’s become so routine that the question gets asked and answered so matter-of-factly like a ritual, that the question has lost its meaning, and the answer lost its impact on the listener except the odd day. It’s a great question to have asked not by someone else, but in fact by you.
How WAS your day? There are a number of things to take into consideration when summing up the day. For most people, we take into consideration the actual work we did, the interaction with other employees and the public, our commute and the ratio of what we accomplished vs. what we expected or had to get done. We tend to merge all these things together almost without thinking and then come up with a single summation of the entire day.
We’ve been asked – and ask of others this question our whole lives. We were asked this question by our parents when we were in junior school, then middle or high school. We ask our own kids these questions too don’t we? When our kids were small they’d tell us so much about their day that was both good and challenging, and then as they grew into teens the replies we’d get would become shorter and shorter; eventually refined by them into a single grunt or monosyllabic, “k” – because saying, “Okay” took twice as long.
We asked those questions of our children for the same reason others are asking the same questions of us now – concern and caring.
I said earlier that it’s a great question to ask of yourself on a daily basis. Imagine that you had a notebook and every day you were disciplined enough to put a checkmark under the headings I suggested to begin this piece. If you looked at the results on a monthly and then yearly basis, I wonder if you would be surprised or find the results predictable. Are you enjoying your days overall or are you coming home at the end of the day from your workplace overall feeling negative or even just so-so?
If you do this kind of exercise, it leads to another question I’m guessing you may have figured out by now. The question is, “Do I want to experience future days like the ones I’ve generally had, or would I prefer to come home daily feeling better about how I’ve spent my day?”
Let’s assume your day is 7 or 8 hours, and on top of this you throw in your commute home. You could be looking at 10 to 12 hours each and every work day; the majority of your time when you factor in 6 or 7 sleeping hours leaving you with 5 to 8 hours of unplanned, awake time to do as you choose. If you make no changes in your job, you’re looking at spending 10 to 12 hours a day coming home feeling pretty much the way you generally do now. How do you feel about that?
If you’re happy keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re unhappy, you have a choice to continue doing what you’re doing and resign yourself to your unhappiness (and many people choose this option unconsciously), or you can choose to change something and then re-evaluate your feelings at the end of the day. So it could be something like keeping the job but changing how you commute. It could be keeping your job but changing how you interact with your fellow employees and the public. It could of course mean that you change your job, eliminate or shorten your commute etc.
Now some readers I fear may be the pessimists that believe jobs are so hard to come by one should stick with the job they hate because it is after all a job; and a job means money. Well that may be THEIR opinion and personal choice, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR choice. There are good workplaces out there filled with positive people and some people love their commute for its personal time to reflect, relax and watch the scenery. Some people accomplish all the things they set out to in a day because the workload is reasonable.
I am suggesting you take a moment and reflect at the end of the day how you REALLY feel about the day you’ve just spent at work. Try and keep a journal or even a chart on the fridge. If you’re not the happy person you used to be, or want to be, maybe some changes would be beneficial.
So, how was your day today?